I love beets – they’re easy to prepare, delicious hot, cold or room temperature, great on their own or added to another dish for a touch of color and sweetness. They’re versatile, healthy and delicious. It’s hard to believe I had never even tried them before two or three years ago.
I recently ran across a recipe by Martha Rose Shulman for Mediterranean Beet and Yogurt Salad. I love her recipes in the New York Times (her Recipes for Health is a regular feature). The salad looked really simple – marinate the beets, then stir some of the marinade into greek yogurt, and serve. It’s beautiful, too – the marinade is a deep red from the beets, so stirred into the yogurt it’s a lovely shade of pink that looks really good on the beets.
I followed her recipe with only a few small changes. I steamed my beets instead of roasting them (it’s already quite hot here in Georgia and I avoid turning on my oven whenever possible), I substituted local honey for sugar in the marinade, and used mint instead of dill (though she mentions this as a possible substitution). She suggests marinating the beets while they’re still warm, but I steamed the beets one evening, then refrigerated them and added the marinade the next day (and left it for a full 24-hours in the fridge). She doesn’t give specifics as to how much marinade to add to the yogurt (just says “to taste”) but based on her picture it looks like I added considerably more than she did.
For the marinade, combine in a small bowl:
- 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. honey (preferably local)
- salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp of each)
Whisk to combine, then pour over:
- 2-3 medium beets, steamed or roasted until tender when pierced with a fork. (To steam them, I peeled the beets and cut into about 1-inch pieces. I steamed them over boiling water 15-20 minutes)
Let stand refrigerated or at room temperature at least 2 hours (I left them refrigerated for 24 hours). Move the beets to a separate container and reserve the marinade.
In the meantime, mash with a mortar and pestle (or the back of a wooden spoon):
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Mash it until it forms a paste, then stir it into:
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (I use 2% Greek yogurt)
Add to the yogurt:
- 1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped mint (I used 2 Tbsp)
- 2 Tbsp. reserved beet marinade
Either toss the beets in the yogurt sauce, or serve with sauce spooned over the top. Sprinkle with a little more minced fresh mint if you like.